Unexpectedly Intriguing!
28 June 2011

Say what you will about President Barack Obama, he lets nothing stand in the way of his vision. Especially reality.

While we've known about the President's primary character flaw for some time, we were still highly amused when he decided to blame technological change for putting bank tellers out of work in the United States. Once again, we have another clear cut example of the President's highly cloistered worldview, which only seems to apply in some other world that no one else is able to observe.

But don't take our word for it. Here is the President, in the President's own words, from back on 14 June 2011:

"There are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don't go to a bank teller, or you go to the airport and you're using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate."

Well, we decided to put that claim about bank tellers and ATMS to the test. The chart below shows what we found when we dug up the relevant data:

Number of Bank Tellers and ATMs in the U.S., 1999-2010

What we find is that the number of both bank tellers and ATMs have generally risen over the past 10 years. The number of both bank tellers and ATMs has fallen in recent years, most likely due to the closure of failed banks, given the distress in that industry since 2008.

So we see that ATMs have been losing work during Obama's presidency too!

Not that President Obama pays attention to these kinds of things. We're sure he's focused on "better" things. Like perhaps new green ATM job programs!

Data Sources

First, here's the annual data for the number of tellers, from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Here are our sources for the number of automated teller machines in the U.S. for the years from 1999 through 2009 (at this writing, we're not aware of the figure for 2010):

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